Album of the Day: Call Super, “Arpo”
By Ammar Kalia · November 28, 2017 Merch for this release:
2 x Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD), Cassette

As a descendent from six generations of painters, for Joe Seaton, aka Call Super, creativity must be genetic. Seaton initially studied to become a visual artist himself but when he became frustrated with the lack of immediacy and abundance of space needed to paint, he found music. Releasing his first EP, Staircase, in 2014, Seaton has since made a name for himself with his distinct brand of muted electronics, culminating in his latest album Arpo.

Yet, his tendency towards the aesthetic still manifests in using his father’s work as cover art for his debut album, 2014’s Suzi Ecto, as well as for Arpo. Where Suzi Ecto’s cover is a brusque close-up of cross-shaped marks, interrupted by black blotches, Arpo is subdued in its rusted red streaks which reveal a materiality in their softened irregularity. In other words, with a Call Super album, you can judge the work by its cover. Suzi Ecto, a record responding to the death of one of Seaton’s best friends, translates its challenging cover art into the guttural scrapes of tracks like “Hoax Eye” and “Fold Again At Last.” Contrastingly, Arpo is almost serene, moving through ambience, jazz quotation, and dancefloor moments.

Seaton’s father’s clarinet playing was a heavy presence in Suzi Ecto, often jarring with electronics, yet in Arpo the jazz-electronic mix is uniform. His work here is introspective and quietly considered without pretension. The drawn-out notes on “Out To Rust” add a breathless urgency to fragmented synths, while numbers like “Music Stand,” “Ekko Ink,” and “Trokel” reflect Seaton’s best ambient work, progressing at the glacial yet absorbing pace of last year’s Blue Dot.

Listening to Arpo, we witness an artist’s process, carefully considering and meticulously applying a broad palette of sounds to do what music does best: express and provoke.

-Ammar Kalia
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